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Everything posted by deultgen

  1. Great place to dine
  2. There are multiple 5 day Mexican cruises in February out of LA. We have never had a problem with delays at the Port. On the other hand, while traffic in the Los Angeles area is unpredictable, if you are on the one which disembarks on a Thursday morning you certainly will have much more of a delay getting to LAX from San Pedro during the week as opposed to a typical Sat/Sun disembark. Good Luck
  3. One additional suggestion We were on Ruby last January on a Mexican Riviera cruise including Cabo. For our cruise, between the many (hundreds) people who were scheduled for ship sponsored shore excursions and the many (hundreds more) who were "elite", we knew we were likely to be among the last to depart the ship on a tender. We stayed on the ship and booked the day in the Sanctuary. Between the view of the city and the view of Pelican rocks, we had one the best days ever on a cruise.
  4. Just off the Ruby last Saturday. I thought Michael was interesting ................. but sometimes WWWWAAAAAYYYYYYY overly dramatic.
  5. We have booked a "guarantee balcony" many times. Sometimes a very good balcony room, sometimes a room which is just fine considering what we paid, and other times we have had a room which I would have NEVER chosen ourselves but been ok with. As long as you are ok with the potential of being assigned one of the "least desirable" balcony cabins you should be fine. Anything above that is a bonus. With the current Princess push to upsell rooms, your chance at a suite is small, but possible. In my opinion, you are most likely going to get a balcony room ....... but one nobody else wanted to choose. Maybe a room with a slight obstruction (like above), or a balcony near an outdoor public smoking section, or maybe a balcony room with something directly above your room like the fitness center (treadmills) or the children's "club" or with the pizza or burger station with tables and chairs above. In general, if it is a good price, we have always been ok with the room we were assigned. And as others have said, you may get an assignment early, you may get a room assigned right before you depart.
  6. Personally, we like Ruby, it has recently been refurbished and has Share by Curtis Stone which is a favorite of mine.
  7. We also sail regularly on Celebrity and always in Aqua Class. Here are my own suggestions: 1. Without knowing exactly which ship and itinerary you are looking at ........ I have found the lines to be very similar. 2. We love Aqua Class and Blu, yet we can not always take a Celebrity cruise 3. We have found it can be good for us to book a basic balcony stateroom on Princess a. Then book a Specialty Restaurant most or every night of the cruise. The price of Specialty Restaurants are quite a bit lower on Princess b. Then once you are on the ship, book the Sanctuary for the entire cruise/and or the Thermal Suite 4. We have found this experience to be close to the Aqua Class at about the same total price
  8. For us, it would definitely be worth it. I would suggest though that there can be some AQ rooms I would not want on Equinox, for instance, any deck 11 AQ room below the treadmills (fitness center), 1141-1153 odd which are below the Aqua Spa Cafe and kitchen.
  9. I suggest each of you bring a good pair of Binoculars
  10. We completed the Mexican Riviera the last week in January 2019. – I would add to those above: 1. Cabo – can be a wonderful day to stay on the ship and not tender into the port. On our cruise between those who had booked excursions through the ship and the “elites”, there was going to be a lot of time waiting for a tender. We spent the day in the Sanctuary – very relaxing. 2. Just past the “blue line” in Mazatlan, is the Cathedral and the “city market”, the blue line is an easy walk throughout the town, and in my opinion both the Cathedral and Market are not to be missed. You could easily walk the blue line area in a couple of hours. 3. The Port (San Pedro) in LA was super easy on our trip. We arrived about 11:30, were on the ship by 11:45. 4. I would say in general, the Mexican Riviera cruises are not as warm as a Caribbean cruise. On our cruise, it was sunny and about 78 degrees (25c) most days in port, cooler in LA and the ocean. If very warm weather is a priority, I would do a search for average temps in those ports in late January.
  11. For us on Ruby last month, wind was never an issue. The first pic below shows how most (not all) of the open areas are covered by glass. Even when the ship was moving "top speed", I would never have called it more than a breeze. The only other "issue" and an area I would stay away from personally, is the area near the entrance, under the large solid overhang (pic 2). It provides wonderful shade most of the time, yet the noise from the pool and hot tubs below tends to "funnel" directly through that area. Without exaggeration, you could hear the conversation of the people below sitting around the pool, even if those people where speaking in a normal voice. We enjoyed every day of our cruise in the Sanctuary.
  12. It depends how you are booking. If you are booking for the whole cruise, you will likely be booking the same lounges for the entire cruise. The attendant who helps with the booking would help with the shaddy spots on a certain cruise. If you are booking for a couple of the days, you will get to reserve from what is left. At the same time, besides beds being reserved there are also chair areas which are not reserved and he could go there and find a shaddy spot. In the pic below (Ruby) there are about 6 lounges under the large covered ceiling (area to the far left of pic 1 below). Admittedly you cant see the lounges in the first pic. Pic 2 has the lounges under that ceiling - it was shaded about 95 % of the time on our cruise. You can also see the individual sets of chairs throughout the Sanctuary.
  13. We are in our late 40’,s have cruised 8 times, and enjoy time to relax with good food and wine. We generally prefer Celebrity Cruises for: · Aqua Class staterooms: (PIC 1) o Blu specialty dining room every night included in the fare (Pic 2) o Persian Garden and Relaxation Room (PIC 3 and 4) · Slightly younger demographic · Overall nicer and more upscale experience for us. · Very nice balcony staterooms – balcony with foot stools and large table · Daily lectures – last cruise had a former US Ambassador on Mexico and Caribbean politics, history, and culture as well as a retired NFL Referee · The indoor “solarium” adults only pool (PIC 5) We like Princess Cruises for: · Specialty Restaurants like Share and sometimes Crown Grill at a much lower price (Pic 6) · The Sanctuary (pic 7) · The Thermal Suite (pic 8 · Base cost is lower for us for a balcony cabin · Sail out of California regularly So, in general an Aqua Class balcony cabin on Celebrity with dedicated dining in Blu, and the other perks included in the fare is about the same cost as a standard balcony cabin on Princess, then paying for nightly Specialty Dining (about $200 pp) and the Sanctuary every day (about $120 pp) and Thermal Suite (about $75 pp). If it was the exact same itinerary, same dates, same price, etc, we would choose Celebrity. At the same time, we have always enjoyed our cruises on Princess.
  14. Nice Champagne, I believe we had them on a couple of cruises. One to Alaska and a California Coastal, both times we were on the deck with the oversized balcony cabins. They tucked under the chairs. On this last cruise, a footstool would not have fit on the tiny balcony. You can see them tucked under the chairs in the pic below - kind of - as well as the larger table on the larger balcony floor.
  15. In our cabin R504, there was no "sitting chair" only a desk chair, and no foot stools on the balcony. Personally, it did not bother us.
  16. Day 6/7 Sea Days We spent our remaining days traveling back to Los Angeles in the Sanctuary during the day and Share in the evening. We traveled the along side of the Carnival Splendor for most of the week. We were also in Puerto Vallarta with a NCL and Holland Ship. Overall we had a very nice vacation and while we still prefer Celebrity Cruises, this Princess cruise as well as those in the past have been very good experiences for us.
  17. Day 5 – Pueto Vallarta After the previous evening of heavy eating and drinking, we slept in. I assume we arrived at Puerta Vallarta on time. After working out and a stop in the Thermal Suite, we spent most of the day in the Sanctuary reading and relaxing. We did not get off the ship. We met a nice group of new friends in the Sanctuary that day. I am glad we had a lounge chair in the shade as the day was sunny and HOT. Dinner was a Crown Grill. I had the beef chop, Cindy had one of the fish options. They were good, but not great. We did spend time in Vine’s Wine Bar both before and after dinner. I thought the wine menu in there was not as good as our cruise about a year and a half ago (also Ruby). I also think it is odd that they have multiple “Silverado” wine tastings, the place is decorated with Magnum Silverado bottles, all wine is served in Silverado crystal glasses …………….. yet they do not serve Silverado wine in the bar ???? Day 4 update – Chef’s dinner, we are not “elite” or special in any way. I don’t think we were asked to join the table randomly though. I think it is most likely we showed some interest in good food, combined with a little personality, and most of all, either very little interest in the table and/or multiple cancellations where they were looking to fill a couple of seats.
  18. You are right, it's the LAX Hilton. We flew to LA the afternoon before the cruise and did not want to fight Friday evening traffic to stay near the cruise port. The Hilton was nice, had a variety of dining options and the pool was a bonus on Saturday morning before we went to the cruise terminal. Also check out was at noon.
  19. Day 4 – Mazatlan The ship pulled into port at Mazatlan early in the morning. We decided to get off and walk around town on the “Blue Line” walking tour. Honestly, as you get off the ship in port there begins with a large blue line on the street with helpful blue shirted volunteers at every corner. The tour takes you through the historic area of town, the plaza, shops, restaurants, a couple of museums, finally the Cathedral and main Market of town. The whole tour of the historic district may be a mile or two but its flat and lots of potential stops along the way. We were back on the ship about 11 am. Pic 1 – Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the Historic District Pic 2 – Cindy and the fish section of the downtown market Pic 3 – lots of fruit available at the market Pic 4 – looking for a steak for dinner tonight We again spent the afternoon in the Sanctuary area of the ship. One note: Generally, the Sanctuary has few reservations on port days. We always booked just the afternoon, but it was fine to show up anytime early. In theory, on busy days (sea days) a lounge chair could be reserved twice, once for the morning and once in the afternoon, but a sea day that was never the case. Finally, we received a call late the night before asking if we wanted to join the “Chef’s Table” for dinner on day 4. Not knowing exactly what that was, I asked a couple of questions and the Maitre D from Share simply said we would enjoy it, encouraged us to attend, and told us to bring our appetite. We met our small group and the Maitre D for dinner beginning with a galley tour at 6pm. The head Chef gave us a tour of the galley and we had a galley table set up for us (pic 5 ice sculpture and edible art) for our first 4 appetizer courses with Champagne. All the appetizers were great including the caviar (pic 6) and duck prosciutto. We then moved from the galley to the dining room where a table was waiting for us and the next couple of courses with a French Chardonnay. The Crab leg and salmon tartar then the risotto was excellent. Finally to the main course, the Chef began by making filets tableside (pic 7). I thought a filet was nice for a main course. I was wrong. The main course was a filet, full lobster tail, scallops, and a double lamb chop ……… and of course a place of vegetables. WOW! Main courses came with an Italian red wine from the Maitre D’s home town. There were also at least a couple of desserts. Full menu below
  20. Pic 1 Thermal suite beds Pic 2 Thermal suite steam room - before steam turned on pic 3/4 Sanctuary
  21. We are sailing Ruby Princess, 15 days to Hawaii in April. Here are my many questions. * Are there any discounts on embarkation day? With this being a 15 day cruise, I'm thinking it's going to be fairly pricey.. something like $300 per person? There are 3 of us. Yes, there will be discounts on both the Thermal Suite (indoor room with heated stone lounges, steam rooms etc. On our cruise it was about $10 per day if you purchased for every day of the cruise on the embarkation day. Same with the Sanctuary area (outdoor with comfortable lounges in the shade/sun with food service, etc) it was $30 per day if you bought for the entire cruise on embarkation day. * How often can I go? Can I visit multiple times per day? Is there a time limit to how much time you can spend in there? As often as you want * I have no interest in any of the spa services. The only thing I'm interested in is the steam rooms, hot tubs/pool/etc. Is that ok? All the videos I watched made reference to spending time in a lounge 'before your treatment', but I'm not getting any treatments. You are right the Thermal Suite is in the spa but separate from any spa treatments * What do you wear? I understand you're provided with a robe. Do you wear your bathing suit under that? What about if you're in the steam rooms or laying on the heated beds? I'm concerned about privacy. Which brings me to the next question. Robe with suit under * Will there be other people there? I am confused because I watched at least 12-15 video clips on youtube, some by Princess, some by cruise review vlogs, some by regular people. In every single video, the entire thermal suite area was completely empty, never anyone to be seen other than employees. Yet there is a lot of seating. I'm confused if this is a shared space like Sanctuary, or a privately booked time slot. Sure there are other people around. The videos probably do not want to include other people. On our cruises it has never been crowded (maybe 2 or 3 others in the steam rooms, beds, etc) * Is this something I can book solo? Everything I've seen talks about couples. sure, solo is fine * Is this one of those things that you have to Run, not walk, the second you step onto the ship and pray you're able to get there before it's sold out? I would reserve them both early, but not run. I've seen plenty of mention about that with Sanctuary, and about how the whole place sells out within hours of embarkation. But I've seen no mention of that for the Thermal suites. Again, I don't want any massage or spa services, I just want to use the hot tubs, sauna etc. Yet from the looks of all the photos and videos, the thermal suite is tiny compared to Sanctuary. Thats true, but people spend all day o(or half day) in the Sanctuary and most only an hour or two at a time in the Thermal Suite. o they have multiple thermal suites to accomodate everyone, or is it only one? just one *If there is only one and I do manage to book a pass, am I going to have trouble using it? Will I show up and find 10 people jammed in the hot tub and no available seating in the sauna, and all the heated beds taken? You will be fine. As you can see, I'm pretty puzzled about how this works, but the videos I've seen look wonderful, so I'd kind of like to try it out. But not if I have to disrobe around strangers, have trouble finding a spot, etc.
  22. The Thermal Suite is the 2 pics from day two above. It is an indoor area of heated tiled beds and steam rooms. It was 75 for the entire cruise. The Santuary is a private, outdoor space with very comfortable lounge chairs
  23. Day 3 – Cabo San Lucas We were set to arrive in Cabo at 11 am and arrived a bit early. All cruise ships “tender” their passengers into Cabo. Since we had heard there were almost 600 elites on board and plenty of people taking excursions, which would be the first two groups to tender, we decided not to get off the ship and stay on board. It turned out to be a great decision which affected the rest of the cruise. The pic below is the view of the rocks off Cabo with the Arch from the ship. After some time at the fitness center and Thermal Suite, I wandered upstairs to the Sanctuary area of the ship. Since it was a port day, there were very few reservations (other than those who had reserved a bed for the entire cruise). I booked beds for us in the afternoon ($20) in an area of part sun/shade. The Sanctuary area is a private, quiet, relaxing space to lay, read, relax, whatever. The lounges were very comfortable and the service exceptional. There is a small light menu to order from which includes items like Grilled Tuna Salad and grilled shrimp, but also included burgers and pizza. There is no charge for the menu items but there is a small delivery charge. (pics below). Additionally, they serve afternoon tea and treats at about 3pm daily. (Pic below). We ended up booking the Sanctuary everyday afterward. Loved it! Dinner was again at Share, I had the duck again (pic) while Cindy ordered off the Share vegetarian menu (artichoke then braised lentils). Sorry, no pics of the braised lentils . The service and wine were again outstanding. After dinner we regularly visited "The Walker Black Duo" in Explorers Lounge. They played to huge crowds every night and we always enjoyed their show. Their show was often preceded by some kind of trivia which was always fun. Other than this we never did attend any of the shows in the theater or any of the smaller venues.
  24. Day 2 – Sea Day There were calm seas leaving Los Angeles, overnight, and all day on Day 2 of the cruise, which was a Sea Day. We slept in a bit for us, and had coffee and something light on our balcony from the International Café early. Then off to the Fitness Center for a bit of a workout. There were plenty of treadmills available in the fitness center and in general I never found it crowded in the mornings. After cooling down we spent some time in the Thermal Suite. For us, we consider it a great relaxing area and well worth the price. (pics below) We also spent much of the afternoon by the Spa (adults only) pool, reading and enjoying a day of sunshine. (pics below). I like this area of the ship, quiet, easy access to the spa, and a small pool with comfortable lounges. (pic below) Dinner was at the Crown Grill – (menu below). We had a half bottle of each of the 2 wines from the night before waiting for us. I had the filet which was fine, Cindy had the lamb chops. I think the Crown is better than the MDR and worth the small upcharge. It was more crowded than Share and in a better location for people to stop by during the day and look at the menu. I will say, if you like wine, both Share and Crown had the most beautiful Riedel Superleggero crystal white and red wine glasses as well as decanters.
  25. I had the impression, the ship stored all the wine anyone dropped of for dinner at any restaurant including the Main Dining Rooms stored in one location. They tagged our wine with name, room number, etc and always had it ready for us.
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